One of the surprises that came across my PS3 this month was Joe Danger on the PlayStation Network. Combining the addictive side-scrolling gameplay of Excitebike for the NES with Tony Hawk Pro Skater’s risky combos makes this game a must play. Developed by 4 Indie guys from Hello Games, the smooth cartoony graphics fits this racing game well. Racing on a 2D racetrack, old school racing fans will enjoy the simplicity and re-play the challenging levels that await.
Stuntman Goals. Joe Danger is an aging stunt man trying to reclaim the title of Master of Disaster. After an injury sidelined him, your mission is to get back into stunt racing. The single player campaign puts you up on various types of gameplay with goals, of course. The goals in each race vary so be sure to pay attention on the level selection screen to see what the objective of the race is. Some races will ask you to pick up all the blue stars on a level. Others want you to finish the race against a timer. Joe Danger is mainly about replaying the levels to accomplish all the objectives for the race. Complete that particular objectives nets you a star. A star allows you to unlock a new level and there in lies the “replay fun-factor”.
Tricksters welcomed. Fans of the Tony Hawk series will enjoy the types of tricks you can accomplish but in a trimmed down style. Riding off ramps and projecting your bike by pressing turbo (X button) launches you accross the 2D backdrop. Using the L3 button to spin backwards or even taking an Evil Kanevil risk will score you big points. And don’t forget the multipleirs. That’s where you can double or even triple your score. My favorite move is “The Superman”. Joe lifts his butt off the bike as he holds onto the handles. Perform a spin and now you’ve just doubled your 100,000 point move. The controls for this game are very responsive. Pulling off a huge move and landing it perfectly is satisfying thanks to accuracy.
Lackluster Multiplayer. The only flaw Joe Danger has is the missing online multiplayer. The fact that almost every game under the sun has some sort of online play except this game disappoints. But Joe Danger is equipped with local multiplayer on a split screen. Taking many of the gametypes in the single player campaign, you’ll race against others for best time and score. The real fun is unfortunately in the single player.
Create your tracks. For the NES fans, the chance to create a track just like Excitebike is here thanks to Sandbox mode. As a matter of fact, one of the easier PSN Trophies to collect require you to create a track and send it off to a friend. While I would have liked racing the map together, this alternate solution is just a band-aid to the real online multiplayer.
Final Thought: Joe Danger’s addictive gameplay kept me playing this game for 5 hours on my first run. As you advance through the levels, you’ll appreciate the easy controls while pulling off some serious combos thanks to the tutorial load screens. As a PSN exclusive title, Joe Danger is a must play. For a game that had little or no marketing, the amount of fun I had was well worth the price of $14.99. If online multiplayer was included, I’d recommend it even more. For now, Well Done Hello Games!